Congress votes overwhelimingly to support Israel’s response against the terrorists, and Microsoft gets a break. Meanwhile, the worlds oldest professional politician dies. I’d like to think that his switch from being a racist Dixiecrat to a Voting Rights Act supporting Republican had something to do with a change in his values, but I fear the change occured mainly in his constituency.
Unless you’ve been living in a hole the last few months, you know that Iranian students are staging protests in support of democracy and against their fundamentalist regime. Perhaps becuase they have been unable to do anything exciting outside their homes, they have developed a very active blogging community hosted by "Persian" blog hosts like Persian Blog. (Did you know that the word "Iran" stems from "Aryan" as Persia (rather than Germany) is the actual home of the Aryan race? The swastika is actually an ancient Iranian symbol which Hitler borrowed along with the name for his crackpot theory. Many Iranians seems to be aware of this, as all the ones I’ve met in the U.S. say that they are from "Persia.")
Anyway, almost all these Persian sites are in farsi, which has hampered recent efforts by the blogging community to reach out in support of their movement. Fortunately, I found this list of Iranian blogs in English. Such blogs have become popular among westerners following "The Baghdad Blogger’s" personal account of the war from Baghdad. There was much speculation about whether Salaam was even real, but few realized that he was (and still is) risking his life by criticizing the regime, Islamic fundamentalism, and openly talking about his homosexuality. I applaud his objective report on the situation (coming from me, that actually means something), but I have one big beef with his epigram: "the West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do" — while the media unflinchingly accepted this travesty, Raed fails to understand that it was precisely because of the superiority of it’s ideas and values that the West is generally a nice place to live while the rest of the world is basically a big open sewer. Oh, speaking of crap, a judge declared rap a foreign language.
Have you seen the design chosen to replace the twin towers? It’s an atrocity: a bare skeleton where the building stood and a big hole in the ground where it fell. Apparently Mr. Libeskind has chosen to erect a giant tombstone as his tribute to the “resurgence of life.” As a further insult, he has decided to place a garden atop the framework as “a constant affirmation of life.” It seems that a few weeds are a better affirmation of “life” than the work of 100 thousand individuals. There are a number of groups that share my indignation at the chosen design: one group is hoping to rebuild the twin towers, while another is suing the port authority. It seems that neither the old nor the new WTC are subject to the building code imposed on private enterprises because they were/will be maintained by the Port Authority, which is immune to prosecution. I’m not qualified to speculate whether this made any difference on 9/11, but I have much more confidence in private construction that does not follow a building code than a public one that does. Since it was found out that Mr. Libeskind will not actually construct the new WTC, as he has never build a skyscraper before, there have been a number of alternative designs proposed. Most of them are impossible designs made by amateurs, but here is one I actually like.
One a side note, the skyscraper in general may be becoming an outdated relic. The rise of the Internet and intranets has greatly diminished the need for large numbers of people to work in the same place, allowing large, sprawling corporate campuses to become the new standard. As much as I love skyscrapers, they may soon join the sailing ship and biplane in my list of great symbols of man’s mind surpassed by even greater inventions.
CNN reports that a new television program called ‘Meow TV’ will consist of a tv show entirely for cats. This may be a clever marketing ploy, but does anyone actually buy this? Until cats start to do their own shopping, I think it will be a pretty stupid idea, but I’m glad to live in a country that can afford to market human-like food… and now television to animals. I remember how in Ukraine, everyone would make fun of Americans for buying food made especially for animals while bums starved in the streets. (Of course, no one starves in a rich country unless they want to, and even then nowadays some social worker will probably force feed you.)
SecurityFocus reports that the CIA may have “too much security” — it has ancient software, restricts internet access and PDA’s to analysts who need it, and generally fails to keep up with innovations in technology. The sad (and scary) result is that “analysts maintain informal networks of personal contacts within the agency just to track down the information they need to do their job.” In a related story, my web host (but not my own servers, which are ironclad 🙂 ) was hacked this morning with the SSH crc32 compensation attack detector exploit. The damage was light, but if you are running SSH 2.2 or older, I strongly suggest that you upgrade ASAP! For you movie buffs, this may be the same exploit that was used in the new movie Matrix Reloaded.
Also, anyone want to buy an aircraft carrier? Only $4.5mil USD
This is great: Looting and Food Fight at the U.N.
Also: A hate letter to Michael Moore that left me rolling on the floor.
Also: Will the real Hussein please stand up?